Although it is always preferable for parents to resolve custody issues outside of court, in situations where the parties cannot agree, a Judge will make decisions regarding legal and residential custody. The “best interests of the child” criteria were the foundation for this choice.
A skilled attorney can negotiate and advocate for clients while remaining level-headed during high-stress situations. They are also accustomed to managing the deadlines and paperwork associated with a custody case.
Many states offer mediation as an alternative to litigation when a child custody dispute arises. In this process, parents meet with a neutral third party trained in conflict resolution and assist them in reaching an agreement. It may help reduce tension between the parties and speed up the process. It can also save money on legal fees and other court costs.
During a mediation, the parents determine their parenting plan, which includes where the children will live, visitation schedules, holiday and vacation schedules, and who makes major decisions regarding the children’s medical and educational needs. The mediator is informed about these topics and will be able to see any omissions or potential concerns with the plans that each party has suggested. The mediator can also help the parties address how contingencies and future changes in circumstances might be handled.
Parents are encouraged to bring any information they believe might be relevant to the dispute to the mediation session. They are also advised to avoid entering the process with predetermined “bottom lines.” It can limit their ability to develop creative solutions that meet everyone’s needs.
It is important to note that, unlike a court hearing, the mediation process is private and confidential. As such, the information participants share in mediation cannot be used against them in court (again, check with a local attorney to confirm this is the case in your jurisdiction). It can encourage the parties to be more open and honest during the process.
One of the most emotional and heated aspects of divorce/separation cases is determining custody. It includes deciding who the children will live with and if that parent should receive money from the other to help pay for the child or children’s needs, known as support. In most states, custody is decided by a judge and based on the “best interests of the children” standard.
In arbitration, parties choose an arbitrator with the assistance of their Wise County, TX attorneys. Then, like in divorce court, each party can present their case. It can include opening statements, calling witnesses, and submitting supporting evidence.
Once each side has presented its case, the arbitrator will decide. It may be based on their analysis of the arguments and evidence they heard or a personal decision based on their interpretation of justice and best judgment. It’s important to note that an arbitrator’s decision is not final and must be confirmed by a judge.
Depending on the circumstances, there are some benefits to arbitration over traditional divorce and custody litigation. It is typically less costly, faster, and more private. The materials submitted to the arbitrator do not have to be filed with the court, and hearings can be held conveniently for both parties.
Custody trials are usually only scheduled when the parents cannot agree during pretrial conferences and other meetings. If you decide to go to trial, reasonable child custody lawyers will partner with you to show that you deserve parental rights and should get custody of your child. They can also help you defend against claims from your ex that are used to sway the judge’s decision. For example, if your ex has skeletons in their closet, like a history of drug or alcohol abuse, a criminal record, or even an arrest, an experienced lawyer can help you prove that these issues do not have any bearing on the court’s decision.
Your attorney will help you present the most persuasive and relevant evidence to the judge at the trial. The judge will decide your custody dispute and consider all the evidence you have provided. They will not be swayed by sex, money, or other factors unrelated to your child’s best interests.
At the trial, the judge will also consider if your child is old enough to voice their opinion about who they want to live with. However, the final decision will be based on the child’s needs, including home, community, and school stability, financial stability for both parents, and whether one parent has any substance or mental health issues.
When a court-approved settlement is reached, it can save both spouses time and money. However, the legal process can become manageable if a co-parent refuses to agree. An experienced attorney can help resolve such problems without going to court.
Both parents must work with their lawyers to agree on a parenting plan and a visitation schedule that works best for them. It is also essential to keep the child custody agreement in mind as life changes. For example, if a parent relocates or one of the children’s needs changes, the contract may be revisited.
During the negotiation process, it is crucial to remain calm. During the heat of battle, a person’s emotions can get out of control, making it difficult to think clearly. Child custody lawyers know how to approach these discussions in a way that minimizes the likelihood of triggering an emotional response.
Before hiring a custody lawyer, it is essential to take the time to do your research. A great place to start is with personal referrals from friends and family who have previously hired custody lawyers. You can also check with your state’s bar association for information about a lawyer’s practice areas, reputation, and licensure status. You can also ask other professionals, such as doctors, financial planners, and real estate agents, for recommendations.